Japan Finds Radioactive Matter around U.S. Ship
TOKYO Japan said on Wednesday it found radioactive matter from water samples taken around a U.S. nuclear-powered submarine off its eastern coast, but the amount was small and posed no harm to humans or the environment.
The government is conducting further tests to see if the particles were emitted from the submarine, said an official from the Education Ministry, which also oversees science and technology issues.
Two types of radioactive particles were found from the ocean water samples around the USS Honolulu shortly after it left Yokosuka, a U.S. navy base 45 km (30 miles) south of Tokyo, earlier this month, the official said.
He said he had no information on where the submarine was now. U.S. Navy officials were unavailable for comment. The findings come after a Japanese mayor agreed to hosting a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in June, a proposed deployment that had sparked public worry about safety.
The move was agreed by the Japanese and U.S. governments last October, but the mayor of Yokosuka initially opposed it because of local fears over the first nuclear carrier to be deployed in Japan.
The United States wants the nuclear-powered vessel to replace the USS Kitty Hawk, a diesel-powered aircraft carrier scheduled to be decommissioned in 2008.
Japan is host to about 50,000 U.S. troops, and military bases are often unpopular with local residents, who complain of noise, pollution and crime.